Cobwebs Away..


Saunton Sands, North Devon


This was our view for lunch earlier this week, from our table on the terrace at the Saunton Sands Hotel.

It’s a bit hazy. It didn’t help that the photo was taken on a phone and into the sun. But the day turned out warm, even hot when the sun came out.  The plan, after lunch, was to go for a walk on the beach. But how far to the end? Ever the optimist I reckoned a mile. Mike’s estimate was three miles, “at least”. To settle the argument I consulted our amiable waiter. It was deceptive he said. You could tell he’d been called upon to arbitrate on this matter a time or two before. As it turned out, Mike was right. Oh dear. Three miles out. And three miles back. We decided to walk as far as felt comfortable and then turn round.

I’d underestimated the heat of the day and overestimated the sogginess of the sand. Most people on the beach were walking around barefoot. The rest had flip flops or sandals. The occasional pair of trainers.



There was only one person on the beach in wellies


But if I hadn’t had my wellies I wouldn’t have been able to take this shot and still keep dry..



Baggy Point, which we visited last year (here)



 I was way down the beach with my feet in the surf.. alongside my new chum.

Apparently both of these photographs needed their horizons straightening on Photoshop. It must have been the wine.



Walking on the sand was actually quite easy. It is so flat and well compacted that a Hercules transport aircraft once landed on the beach. There’s a photo in the hotel reception to prove it. And presumably it took off again safely too, since it’s no longer there.

The town barely visible on the distant hill is Westward Ho! The exclamation mark comes not from me, it’s part of the name. It was taken from the title of Charles Kingsley’s novel Westward Ho! (1855), which was set in nearby Bideford. We had our sights set much nearer though. My eye was on that little black speck far left of the picture, just under the farthest dune, where the beach starts to turn away around a bend. Three miles. Would we make it?



Ripples in the sand left by the retreating tide

Either that or the quilters have been out here in force.



A mussel shell with barnacles



Obviously a feather. But from what. Anybody know?



The black speck, revealed

Journey’s end. Except..



..the not insignificant matter of the 3 miles back

The white speck in this shot is the hotel. Where we’d left the car. One foot in front of the other, it can be done.



Watching me watching you

Buzzed by the marines. There’s an airbase at nearby Chivenor.



And then this guy turns up.

It sounds just like a motorbike and apparently it’s called a monowheel. Seems logical. The inner circle, with driver, somehow remains upright as the contraption is propelled along. It doesn’t look very comfortable though does it.. it surely won’t catch on. No space for a pillion either. And by that time I could have done with a lift.



The walk took just over two hours in total. Quite a bit of me ached. As it happens, quite a bit of me still aches.

But I can safely declare that the cobwebs are gone.


2018-04-21T19:55:01+00:00September 19th, 2014|Tags: |


  1. Eleanor from Stitches and Seeds September 19, 2014 at 12:20 pm - Reply

    Looks like a lovely walk! Don’t you love those pretty beach huts! Not sure about the mono wheel though. Where would you put your handbag and shopping?

    • Jessica September 19, 2014 at 8:14 pm - Reply

      Exactly Eleanor. And in my case, the plants from the nursery.

  2. AnnetteM September 19, 2014 at 12:25 pm - Reply

    Great walk – loved the mono wheel and the wellies! Only a gardener!!!

    • Jessica September 19, 2014 at 8:15 pm - Reply

      It’s true, you can spot a gardener a mile off!

  3. Cathy September 19, 2014 at 12:44 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing your afternoon and your lovely pictures – I remember a walk like that in Norfolk, but that was a pebbly beach, although at least I wasn’t wearing wellies… ps it could have been your gardening clogs…. 🙂

    • Jessica September 19, 2014 at 8:16 pm - Reply

      Funnily enough, I was thinking while walking on the beach that the clogs might have been a better bet. Although that would have excluded paddling.

  4. sustainablemum September 19, 2014 at 12:58 pm - Reply

    Six miles is a long way. Six miles in wellies on sand feels like a very long way I’m sure. I love what the black speck turned out to be.

    • Jessica September 19, 2014 at 8:22 pm - Reply

      It was easier than I thought it would be. The sand being so flat and compacted really helped. Above the high tide mark was a different story. You can see the softer sand around the ‘black speck’. Six miles in that would have been impossible.

  5. Mark and Gaz September 19, 2014 at 1:27 pm - Reply

    Love the monowheel! It looks so serene and peaceful Jessica (sans the helicopter of course), a beautiful part of the world.

    • Jessica September 19, 2014 at 8:23 pm - Reply

      The further out we went the quieter it got. It was lovely just to be able to hear the waves and the gulls calling.

  6. wherefivevalleysmeet September 19, 2014 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    You have depicted beautifully what I think of as quite, mellow, gentle days as we head off into autumn. The monocycle is a strange device, but looks fun.

    • Jessica September 19, 2014 at 8:26 pm - Reply

      We are trying to take advantage of these warm mellow days while we have them and the beach made a change from the usual garden haunts. Long may they continue.

  7. Em September 19, 2014 at 1:43 pm - Reply

    I’ve never heard of a monowheel but kind of like the look of it. Perhaps a riding substitute for me? Gorgeous photos, especially the one of you. Easy there – almost a profile. Could the feather be from a juvenile Herring Gull perhaps? They’re brown and white…..see last post for many pics! Looks like you had a really lovely day out. I’d like to go there soon I think – I have a few cobwebs of my own. x

    • Jessica September 19, 2014 at 8:33 pm - Reply

      The monowheel might be very uncomfortable on the moor, even with the mountain bike tyre it looked to have. The tail feathers of a juvenile Herring Gull certainly look similar.

  8. Joanne September 19, 2014 at 1:50 pm - Reply

    Blimey a six mile walk would see me requesting dinner as well! Two hours is a good time.

    • Jessica September 19, 2014 at 8:34 pm - Reply

      Good point. Although as it was my idea to walk the beach I think it would be me who would be buying..

  9. Countrysidetales September 19, 2014 at 1:58 pm - Reply

    I like the look of the monowheel- if my boys see a picture they will want it for Christmas :o)

    • Jessica September 19, 2014 at 8:37 pm - Reply

      It looks lethal! At least on the sand it would be a soft landing.

  10. Jo September 19, 2014 at 2:13 pm - Reply

    I’d love to live close enough to the beach to visit regularly and walk along the shore. I’ve never been to Saunton Sands but I’ve been to Westward Ho!

    • Jessica September 19, 2014 at 8:41 pm - Reply

      It’s the first time we’ve done it and I’ll do it again. It’s not on the doorstep but near enough for a relaxed day out.

  11. Denise September 19, 2014 at 2:21 pm - Reply

    Glad you have been de-webbed. Nothing like a bit of brisk ozone for that job. Love those beach huts. X

    • Jessica September 19, 2014 at 8:42 pm - Reply

      The beach huts are great aren’t they. So cheerfully painted. And a snip at £15 per day.

  12. Sue September 19, 2014 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    Wonderful photos and It sounds like a wonderful walk, even if you do ache afterwards.

    My eldest son would never go on the beach barefoot, it was always little trunks and his red wellies 🙂

    • Jessica September 19, 2014 at 8:47 pm - Reply

      The wellies turned out to be quite a good solution in the end, given that we hadn’t taken towels or anything else for drying off and getting rid of sand. Not next time though, next time I need something better suited to climbing the dunes!

  13. justjilluk September 19, 2014 at 2:45 pm - Reply

    Herring Gull feather. Well done. Lovely pics as always from you.

    • Jessica September 19, 2014 at 8:50 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jill.

  14. Donna@Living From Happiness September 19, 2014 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    I would love to be able to walk on the beach easily….you certainly captured some beautiful and unusual sights.

    • Jessica September 19, 2014 at 8:54 pm - Reply

      Thanks Donna. We don’t get nearly as much value out of living here as we should, there never seems to be enough time. When we make time I never regret it.

  15. Paula@BloomsnSpades September 19, 2014 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    It sounds like the trip has done you the world of good. Love that monowheel on the beach 😉 .

    • Jessica September 19, 2014 at 8:57 pm - Reply

      It’s good to have a break from time to time, it does leave you feeling refreshed. Even more so with the benefit of all that sea air.

  16. Jacqueline September 19, 2014 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    You live in such a beautiful part of the world Jessica ….. it must be lovely to be able to walk along a beach whenever the mood takes you ….. the best way to blow the cobwebs away…. think that the wellies might have made the walk a little more difficult { a bit like soldiers with their backpacks !! { was it a penance !! } } Sorry, I digress ….. you take the most wonderful photographs … have you ever been on a photographic course ? XXXX

    • Jessica September 19, 2014 at 8:59 pm - Reply

      Mike went on a day with a professional photographer many moons ago and I’ve learnt from him. Other than that it’s trial and error. And taking many many shots on the basis that one of them will come good!

  17. SeagullSuzie September 19, 2014 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    I thought the army had turned up to rescue you from your wellies! Beautiful photos of a great walk. I don’t know what bird that feather belongs to, I’ve seen a lot of herring gull chicks but don’t recall their feathers looking like that…maybe one of the waders?

    • Jessica September 19, 2014 at 9:08 pm - Reply

      The way those guys were peering down at us from the helicopter I did wonder if we were about to be whisked off! Perhaps they were nervous of Mike and his camera. Looking at pictures on google, I think it may be a lower tail feather. Put ‘juvenile herring gull’ into google images and you can see what I mean, especially the one about four rows down from Edward Johnes photography.

  18. Pauline September 19, 2014 at 4:36 pm - Reply

    What super photos you took of your wonderful walk, I can imagine the cobwebs will be well and truly blown away! Love the mussel shells, very artistic, and the sea washed driftwood, I would have been tempted to bring the driftwood home, with just a bit of carving and smoothing, I’m sure something would have emerged. I agree about the juvenile herring gull, the primary feathers are striped brown in a young one.

    • Jessica September 19, 2014 at 9:12 pm - Reply

      I was on the lookout for driftwood, but that one was enormous.. and three miles from the car!

  19. angiesgardendiaries September 19, 2014 at 5:51 pm - Reply

    As we say up here…..if it wisnae fur yir wellies, whir wid yi be? Lovely shots Jessica and it was terribly nice of you to take us on your walk with you.
    Wouldn’t mind a wee go on that monowheel, really just to say I’ve did that – I kind of agree with you that it doesn’t look terribly comfortable.

    • Jessica September 19, 2014 at 9:19 pm - Reply

      I would totally agree about the wellies! Och aye. So glad you guys are staying in the UK family, it wouldn’t be the same without you.
      My sense of balance is precarious enough as it is. I fear the outcome of a trial run on the monowheel would be very predictable for me..

  20. frayed at the edge September 19, 2014 at 7:10 pm - Reply

    I have developed muscles on my muscles in my calves, with all the beach walking we have been doing in Berwick! Fabulous photos – of course I love the “arty” one of the mussel shell. My vote is for a gull feather.

    • Jessica September 19, 2014 at 9:20 pm - Reply

      It has to be good for us doesn’t it, all this walking. And the fresh sea air.

  21. Anne Wheaton September 19, 2014 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    Looks wonderful. I’m glad you had something to aim for – I can imagine starting out and the elusive end always being just around the corner. Love the quilted sand.

    • Jessica September 19, 2014 at 9:29 pm - Reply

      This beach is just like that, where it starts to go round the corner and every step reveals a little more of what is on the other side. But three miles out was quite enough, I don’t walk as much as I should and am still testing my limits. And there was no way back other than walk!

  22. Vera September 19, 2014 at 9:52 pm - Reply

    I love a bracing walk by the sea, but not a winter walk when your brains are blown inside out! I used to live right by the sea, and I really do not miss those howling winter gales!!! Lovely photos by the way. Glad you enjoyed yourself.

    • Jessica September 20, 2014 at 10:54 am - Reply

      I have to confess, I’m a fair weather walker in the main. I do like to see dramatic seas and skies, but it tends to be a quick dash out and back from the warmth of the car!

  23. Alain September 19, 2014 at 10:00 pm - Reply

    Thank you Jessica for these attractive pictures. It sounds like a very pleasant walk.

    • Jessica September 20, 2014 at 10:56 am - Reply

      Possibly about a mile too long for my current state of fitness. I did rather wear myself out. But it was very pleasant as well and definitely something to do again.

  24. CJ September 19, 2014 at 10:06 pm - Reply

    Saunton Sands are one of our Very Best Places, I absolutely love it there. I’d like to live down that way, it’s a beautiful part of the world. I’m glad you had such a good walk. I shall ask the biggest boy about the feather, he’s our bird expert. Whatever it is it’s exquisite. Glad you had such a lovely break. CJ xx

    • Jessica September 20, 2014 at 10:59 am - Reply

      It is beautiful isn’t it, the beach is so long and wide and with all those dunes behind it which I haven’t even started to explore yet.

  25. hoehoegrow September 20, 2014 at 12:06 am - Reply

    Jessica you have some classic photos there which would happily grace the walls of a gallery ! Gorgeous walk I imagine !

    • Jessica September 20, 2014 at 11:04 am - Reply

      Thanks Jane. We need a break occasionally don’t we and it felt like miles from anywhere at the end of that beach.

  26. Helene September 20, 2014 at 12:26 am - Reply

    Thanks for letting me tag along on your stroll, it was almost like being there, so beautiful – I miss the sea, I actually haven’t seen a beach since leaving Norway 15 years ago 🙂

    • Jessica September 20, 2014 at 11:06 am - Reply

      The Norwegian coastline is something I’d like to see too, very dramatic I would imagine!

  27. Willow September 20, 2014 at 1:40 am - Reply

    Great shots ~ felt like I could reach right out and touch that beach sand !
    Oh I love a good set of Wellies any day.
    Glad the cobwebs are gone and your feeling better.
    Be Well,

    • Jessica September 20, 2014 at 11:08 am - Reply

      Thanks Willow. My wellies have done me proud, I live in them outside in winter. It’s the first time I’ve taken them beach paddling though.. 🙂

  28. Charlie@Seattle Trekker September 20, 2014 at 5:41 am - Reply

    Loved your beach photos they are such great fun. The piece of driftwood really had gorgeous detail.

    • Jessica September 20, 2014 at 11:12 am - Reply

      It looks like it’s been there a long time doesn’t it, so smooth to touch.

  29. Lilith September 20, 2014 at 7:01 am - Reply

    Wonderful, Yessica. I love pictures from water, whereever it is. I think, I would wear Wellis – because I hate the sand after goiling on it in my shoes.


    • Jessica September 20, 2014 at 11:14 am - Reply

      Sand does get everywhere! It was blowing around quite a bit that day because there was a strong breeze.
      I hope you are still enjoying your holiday in Scotland.

  30. Anny September 20, 2014 at 7:04 am - Reply

    At least you didn’t have to dodge too many sunbathers on the way…

    • Jessica September 20, 2014 at 11:17 am - Reply

      There were quite a few, but it’s amazing how they all seem to stick to one place. Near to cafes and loos perhaps. We didn’t have to walk too far out to get the beach more or less to ourselves.

  31. Rosie September 20, 2014 at 9:34 am - Reply

    What a wonderful beach to walk on. Of course it is the factoring in of the walk back you have to consider – 6 miles is a long way in wellies no wonder your legs ached – what a super way to blow the cobwebs away:)

    • Jessica September 20, 2014 at 11:19 am - Reply

      6 miles is a long way for me in any circumstances, I was quite chuffed that I did it even if I was worn out for the rest of the day. It makes me think that I should really keep it up, a great way to get fitter.

  32. Annie Edwards September 20, 2014 at 10:29 am - Reply

    there is nothing like a walk on the beach to blow the cobwebs away. I’m not sure which bird the feather is from, but how beautiful it is. Super images x

    • Jessica September 20, 2014 at 11:24 am - Reply

      Thanks Annie. Your blog is one of those that inspires me to get out and enjoy our natural environment more. It is so easy to forget about what we have around us in the headlong rush of our daily lives.

  33. elaine September 20, 2014 at 11:21 am - Reply

    Lovely photos of a beautiful place – I would have been flagging too after that walk – the return trip is always the worst.

    • Jessica September 20, 2014 at 11:26 am - Reply

      Thanks Elaine. It was the last mile… the finish line didn’t seem to be getting any closer at all!

  34. steph September 20, 2014 at 12:32 pm - Reply

    nothing better than a beach to yourself!!!! it would have taken me at least two if not three times longer……i’m such a beach scavenger. (love all the shots, but i think the colorful huts are my favorite!!!!)

    • Jessica September 21, 2014 at 9:56 am - Reply

      I walked along the high tide line for a bit, but very little had been washed up. Many shells.. but I have loads of them already!

  35. Sue@GLAllotments September 20, 2014 at 3:22 pm - Reply

    The feather looks as though it could come from a bird of prey to me,

    • Jessica September 21, 2014 at 9:56 am - Reply

      That’s a thought Sue..

  36. Amy at love made my home September 20, 2014 at 8:13 pm - Reply

    Hi, just catching up, I have been reading, just not commenting. It is so beautiful Jessica, not sure that I fancy that monowheel thing though, looks a bit dangerous to me!! xx

    • Jessica September 21, 2014 at 9:58 am - Reply

      Perhaps it’s easier if you’re used to riding a motorbike, but I don’t think I’d have much success with the monowheel either! Glad you had a good holiday.

  37. Chloris September 20, 2014 at 9:56 pm - Reply

    The beach looks absolutely amazing. But I wouldn’t fancy 6 miles in wellies. You did well.
    Wonderful photos, I almost feel that I’ ve been there myself.

    • Jessica September 21, 2014 at 9:59 am - Reply

      Next time I will put a broader selection of footwear in the car boot! Thanks Chloris.

  38. All That I'm Eating September 21, 2014 at 5:29 pm - Reply

    Lovely pictures, especially like the beach huts!

    • Jessica September 21, 2014 at 6:17 pm - Reply

      Pretty aren’t they. Each one different, but my favourite was the one with the red door.

  39. snowbird September 21, 2014 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    Now that looks the perfect way to spend a sunny autumn day. I loved the monowheel and the beach huts….at least you walked your lunch off….hope you made up for that by having a rather lovely pudding!xxx

    • Jessica September 21, 2014 at 10:07 pm - Reply

      The best – salted caramel tart. Yummy!

  40. Christina September 22, 2014 at 11:06 am - Reply

    Well done for walking so far after a good lunch. If the weather was more dependable you can’t beat an Englsih beach!

    • Jessica September 22, 2014 at 8:47 pm - Reply

      There are some gorgeous beaches in Devon. I tend to prefer them out of season when it’s a lot quieter. But of course then the weather is even less dependable!

  41. Vintage Jane September 22, 2014 at 3:53 pm - Reply

    What a lovely walk and great photos too. We love Saunton, although little man prefers Croyde (the next bay I think) for a bit of surfing. I think you did extremely well to walk six miles in wellies!

    • Jessica September 22, 2014 at 8:59 pm - Reply

      Yes, Croyde is the next bay and it’s beautiful there too. There were surfers out at Saunton when the tide was coming in but despite the strong breeze it wasn’t exactly rollers!

  42. Linda September 23, 2014 at 12:25 am - Reply

    Hi. Jessica….
    Love your wellies!
    I love that you answer every ding dang comment!
    Kudos to you!

    Linda :o)

    • Jessica September 23, 2014 at 9:34 am - Reply

      Answering comments is the best bit! Thanks Linda.

  43. Annie September 23, 2014 at 10:13 am - Reply

    It looks like a perfect walk to me, and not toooo long … the whippets would have been in heaven, but I’m thinking that may be a dog free beach?

    • Jessica September 23, 2014 at 8:45 pm - Reply

      There were dogs on the beach and they were loving it, really racing around and splashing in the surf. I vaguely remember a sign suggesting there were dog and dog-free zones.

  44. Sarah September 23, 2014 at 8:31 pm - Reply

    As always they are fantastic pictures and location. We don’t get beaches like that around here! What a shame you couldn’t get a lift on the way back! Sarah x

    • Jessica September 23, 2014 at 9:04 pm - Reply

      It’s a bit of a drive to get to that beach, but worth it. So refreshing to spend an afternoon by the sea.

  45. Pats. September 25, 2014 at 7:11 am - Reply

    Aaaah, ditto, did just the same thing on Tuesday…..but from Sandsend to Whitby; (well….halfway anyway and then to the glorious Sandside cafe for a frothy coffee, fresh crab salad and apple pie and custard!) Can’t be beaten!

    • Jessica September 25, 2014 at 9:18 am - Reply

      There are some cracking beaches up there as well. Feels good to have a break now and then doesn’t it, especially in this perfect weather. Batteries recharged.

  46. Janet/Plantaliscious September 26, 2014 at 8:54 am - Reply

    I’m exhausted just reading about that walk, but it is a lovely area, and you got some great photos. I often have to straighten photos, I seem to have a natural tilt to the way I hold a camera – any camera – and knowing this and trying to ensure I check before clicking doesn’t seem to help much. Just one of many reasons why I would never make it as a pro!

    • Jessica September 26, 2014 at 9:28 am - Reply

      The same could well be true of me and a camera… it is reassuring to know that it may not have been the wine!

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